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Fellow Cavers,

Check your gear bag and see if you have a Petzl GriGri 2 subject to recall. The faulty items can become stuck in the open position resulting in a fall. Please help spread the word!

It is interesting to note that this information was shared by Petzl to the world back at the end of June, but was just announced by the CPSC recall program early this morning on August 31, 2011.

NEWS from CPSC and HC


Health Canada Seal
U.S. Consumer Product
Safety Commission
  Health Canada

August 30, 2011
Release #11-314
Firm's Recall Hotline: (800) 932-2978
CPSC Recall Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908
HC Media Contact: (613) 957-298

Petzl America Recalls Belay Devices Due to Fall Hazard

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Health Canada, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. It is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.

Name of Product: GRIGRI 2 belay device with assisted braking

Units: About 18,000 in the United States and about 2,000 in Canada

Importer: Petzl America Inc., of Clearfield, Utah

Manufacturer: Petzl SAS, of Crolles, France

Hazard: Excessive force on the handle can cause it to become stuck in the open position. When stuck open, the assisted braking function is disabled, posing a fall hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: Seven devices worldwide, including one in the U.S., were returned after the users noticed that the handle could become stuck in the open position. No injuries have been reported.

Description: The GRIGRI 2 belay device is used by rock climbers to control the climber's safety rope during a fall or while being lowered on the rope. The first five digits of the serial numbers of devices affected by this recall range from 10326 to 11136. The serial number is engraved on the body of the product underneath and protected by the folded handle. The belay devices are 4 inches in length and 2 inches in width, and come in grey, blue, and orange colors.

Sold at: Sports and recreation stores in the U.S. and Canada from February 2011 to June 2011 for about $95.

Manufactured in: France

Remedy: Consumers should stop use of the affected GRIGRI 2s immediately, and contact Petzl America for a replacement.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Petzl America at (800) 932-2978 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. MT Monday through Friday or visit

Note: Health Canada's press release is available at

Picture of recalled belay devices
Recall for Replacement: GRIGRI 2

Concerns all GRIGRI 2's (D14 2O, D14 2G, D14 2B) with the first five digits of the serial number between 10326 and 11136.

RecallBACKGROUND - Petzl has discovered that exerting excessive force on the fully extended handle of the GRIGRI 2 can cause internal damage, such that the GRIGRI 2 handle may become stuck in the open position, as pictured in Figure 1 below.

When the handle is stuck in the position shown in Figure 1, the assisted braking function is disabled. A damaged GRIGRI 2 in this configuration will function similarly to a manual belay device (e.g. tube-style device).
When using a damaged GRIGRI 2 with the handle stuck in the open position, failure to control the braking side of the rope will dramatically increase the risk of an uncontrolled descent, possibly resulting in injury or death.

A GRIGRI 2 with a damaged handle must be immediately retired from service.

Please note that failure to control the braking side of the rope is a misuse of the GRIGRI 2 under any circumstance (See the GRIGRI 2 Technical Notice - pdf file, 2.5Mo).

As of June 20, 2011, seven damaged GRIGRI 2 units have been returned to Petzl through our worldwide distribution network. Petzl has no knowledge of any accidents resulting from a damaged GRIGRI 2 handle.

Petzl Response -Because the safety of our users is our primary concern, as a precautionary measure Petzl has decided to take the following actions:

  • Ask users to immediately stop using all GRIGRI 2's with the first five digits of the serial number between 10326 and 11136.
  • Recall all affected GRIGRI 2's and replace with new, revised versions.
  • Petzl will pay for all shipping costs to complete this replacement.
  • Increase the mechanical strength of the handle on all GRIGRI 2's from serial number 11137 onward.
  • Begin shipping replacement GRIGRI 2's immediately. Users will receive replacements in the same order they return their old units to Petzl.

Every one of us here at Petzl is committed to resolving this issue as quickly and efficiently as possible. Thank you for your cooperation and support.

If you have a GRIGRI 2 (D14 2O, D14 2G, D14 2B) with the first five digits of the serial number between 10326 and 11136, stop use immediately and contact Petzl America to initiate an exchange.
For those in the US and Canada, the fastest way  to initiate the replacement process is to use the online tool.
You may contact Petzl America directly in one of two ways:
- By phone: 1 (800) 932-2978 (toll free)
- By email:
Petzl will pay all shipping costs associated with this exchange


NOTE: The previous generation GRIGRI is NOT affected by this recall.



I sent along the following question to Petzl Technical Support...

Dear Sirs:

I have been reviewing your GRIGRI 2 Technical Notice pdf document and I have a question about illustration 6:3. The right portion of the picture shows a “NO” that is unclear to me what prohibition you are trying to convey. Maybe the international aspect of the drawing is throwing me off. What are you prohibiting? I am thinking that it is the direction that the GRIGRI 2 comes off the harness... Is that correct?


As a caver and trainer, we use and recommend your Fractio caving harness to new members of our Timpanogos Grotto here in Northern Utah. This requires a the special multi-directional Demi Rond or Omni which provides a horizontal connecting point across the torso. If GRIGRI 2 direction to torso is important, then what is the recommended attaching method with the Fractio harness? Do you recommend attaching the GRIRGRI 2 right off the Omni or Demi Ron? Or do you use 2 more carabiners to establish the same direction that would be provided off a normal climbing harness loop with one carabiner? Coming straight off the Omni or Demi Ron places it very close to the torso and makes it awkward to use due to the tight confines. The typical use is to come off the Demi Ron or Omni with one carabiner and then attch the GRIGRI 2, but this alters the GRIGRI 2 direction (Of which I don’t yet know if you are prohibiting in your technical illustrations). Please take a moment to clarify so that we can train both new and experienced cavers appropriately.

Thanks in advance!
Michael Leavitt
1145 N. Main Street
Orem, Utah 84057
Timpanogos Grotto Webmaster

Ralph Powers responded...

Apparently the GriGri is not meant to be attached to anything except a belayer's harness... the illustration you've highlighted shows the device attached to a biner to a wall anchor. Other-words do not use the device to belay directly off a wall.
Hope that helps.

I've looked at and played with the original grigri and to me it's basically a "better mousetrap" that didn't work as planned. Petzl is trying to develop newer, better equipment so that they can stay in front of the game/race of new and innovative equipment. This leads to design flaws and recalls of devices that LOOKED like a great idea but weren't 100% tested in the field like it should've been. It's twice that the GriGri has been recalled.
Sometimes... the old ways ARE best. They just need to be taught better.

Ralph Powers

To which I shared...

Now I am really embarrassed. The international symbols always throw me. I never even considered that being a depiction of a wall. I assumed that it was a directional issue. The Petzl Technical Support Team is just going to laugh when they read my question that I just barely sent off to them. Without your guidance I would never have known that was a wall anchor… What difference would it make if this was coming off an anchor point other than a belayer’s harness? I can think of several different rescue situations where its use off a rope rigging would work when raising/lowering gear or people where you would not want to be connected via a climbing harness loop.
Thanks for taking the time to respond. I think I need to head back to the climbing wall and set up some scenarios and test out some gear.
Keep caving!
Michael Leavitt – Orem, Utah

I then sent a follow up to Petzl...

A friend just shared that the image depicts a carabineer coming off a wall anchor. If that is the case, then it kind of negates my questioning below and opens up an entirely different string of questions. So if it is a wall anchor, then why the prohibition? Is the GRI GRI 2 only limited to being used off a climbing harness loop? What about rescue situations where you are raising/lowering gear and/or bodies and you don’t want to be a permanent part of the rigging? Just what are the recommendations and limitations of using the GRIGRI 2?

Please consider the questions about the Fractio below and let me know how to use the GRIGRI 2 with the Fractio.

NOTE: I know that email communication is limited and frustrating, but any information you can share would be much appreciated.

Thanks again, Michael Leavitt